Welcome FUSION readers!

Friday, December 30, 2011

FREE Finance Software to Start The Year RIGHT!

Last year about this time I was introduced to Mint.com. I tried it for a few weeks and I loved it. You can read what I had to say about it here but I was anxious to come back and review this program after a year.

Mint has been a HUGE time-saver for me! My favorite features include being able to set up my own categories and budgets that are specific to our family. I also love all the visual tools they have available. A quick glance on the bar graph lets me know if we are on track with our budget for this month or not. I also really enjoyed looking at the data over a year's time to really see where our money goes. What can I say, I'm a sucker for pie charts. ;)

One of the neatest features is being able to "split" a transaction. Let's say I'm at Target purchasing household items and also picking up a birthday gift. Instead of me having to "split" the transaction at Target, I can do it with a click of the mouse at home and designate just how much of the purchase should go into each category. They also have apps for iPhone and Android, so you can check it on the go.

It's the start of a new year, which is the perfect time to get your finances in order. I hope that you will love MINT just as much as I do. Did I mention that it was FREE? Check it out for yourself.

Mint.com also comes with some amazing reviews from Time, PC Mag, and Money Magazine who give it extremely high marks for security, functionality, and ease of use!



Friday, November 4, 2011

Shutterfly Winners Announced

Well, our big family picture day is tomorrow. I'm saying a prayer now for Grace over at Clearly Photography who has the honor, priveledge, task of capturing our extended family crew of 14 on digital media to be preserved for all time. Bless her. Luckily, the weather is going to be delightful so we do have that going for us. :) I can't wait to get the pics and order our cards from Shutterfly.

And, I'm pleased to announce the winners of the Shutterfly giveaway who have won 25 holiday photo cards. Drum roll please......


Congratulations! Your photo codes will be sent to the email address you provided within 72 hours.


Friday, October 28, 2011

Welcome FiftyForward Staff Members

Today, I had the pleasure of speaking at The Retreat for FiftyForward. If you aren't familiar with this organization, you can check them out here. They are the leading resource in Middle Tennessee for those 50+ who seek to live longer, more fulfilling lives. I spoke at the Donelson Station location, which also houses The Larry Keeton Theatre. My family and I are very excited to be attending their production of Miracle on 34th Street in December, but they have performances year round!

If you are a FiftyForward staff member, WELCOME! I rather enjoyed speaking to your group and answering your questions. I hope you will be able to use some of the tips I shared with you during our workshop and I also want to help you navigate your way around this site.

If you are new to couponing, then I would highly recommend you take a look at my Frugal 101 series. This is kind of a step-by-step guide to get you going. Next, you'll want to browse through the FAQ list for some added info. Don't forget to stop over and "Like" Coupon Queen Diaries on Facebook!

Also, right now I'm hosting a giveaway sponsored by Shutterfly for 25 personalized holiday photo cards! Go here to register to win. THREE winners will be chosen!

Thanks again for stopping by and best of luck as you start on your money-saving adventure!


Monday, October 24, 2011

Shutterfly Giveaway - 3 Winners! [CLOSED]

**This giveaway is now closed. Winners announced here.**

I love sending out Christmas cards. This is one of the first things I try to check off my list. I love getting cards too, especially Christmas photo cards. I mean, it's really nice if you send me a heartfelt card but I particularly enjoy seeing how my family and friends and their children have changed and grown over the past year. A part of my decorating routine is to look back over the cards of the previous year that I safely tucked away in the bins with tree decorations.
Last year Shutterfly offered me some complimentary holiday cards and they turned out beautifully. We used our picture from Thanksgiving at Disney and I thought it looked fantastic. They were the 5x7 cards and the paper was nice and thick. It's my favorite! This year I am planning to order from Shutterfly again. We are having family pictures in just a few weeks where we will be sporting T-shirts from our favorite football team. We are a house divided (Me: Go Bama! - Hubby: War Eagle!). It might be no small feat to select an appropriate card for that photo, but with hundreds of designs to choose from, I'm sure I'll find one that is perfect! Shutterfly also has photo gifts, which make great presents. My grandmother looks forward to her calendar every year.

Are you a blogger? Want a chance at 25 free cards this holiday season? Register here: http://goo.gl/DDw7Q

Shutterfly isn't just treating bloggers to free cards this year. They are also offering 25 cards to 3 of my readers. Complete the form below for your chance to win (Email subscribers will need to visit the site in order to complete the form).

Required entry:
  • Let me know how many holiday cards you usually send out.
Bonus entries (will be verified): Current subscribers are eligible too.
  • Subscribe to Coupon Queen Diaries Email Updates or RSS Feed.
  • Go over and "Like" Coupon Queen Diaries on Facebook.
  • Follow me on Twitter AND Tweet the following: "Check it out! @bishopstaci is giving away 25 holiday cards from @shutterfly. Enter to win! Three winners. http://bit.ly/tETvoB"
Details, Details, Details:
  • This giveaway is open to residents of US & Canada only.
  • Comments will not be counted. You must fill out the form below. One entry per person. Duplicate entries will be deleted.
  • This giveaway will end on November 3, 2011 at 9 PM. Winners will be selected by Random.org and posted on Coupon Queen Diaries.
  • After the winners are selected, I will send the promo code within 72 hours to the email address provided.
Good Luck!

Disclaimer: Shutterfly has offered me 50 free cards in exchange for this post. However, all opinions are my own.



Saturday, August 27, 2011

Welcome Team Wilson Class!

I just wanted to welcome those of you who are visiting Coupon Queen Diaries after attending the class hosted by Team Wilson.

I hope you will be able to use some of the tips I shared with you during our workshop and I also want to help you navigate your way around this site.

If you are new to couponing, then I would highly recommend you take a look at my Frugal 101 series. This is kind of a step-by-step guide to get you going.

Next, you'll want to browse through the FAQ list for some added info.

Best of luck as you start on your new money-saving adventure!


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

V8 Fusion $0.50 at Food Lion!!!

Today I happened across an AMAZING deal on my daughter's favorite juice at Food Lion. The V8 Fusion varieites are all on sale for $2.50 each. I paired these with the $1.50 Q from 6/26 SS to get them for $1.00 each! This is quite a deal in itself. Plus, there was also a Q from 6/26 SS where you can get a V8 Fusion Tea FREE when you buy 2 V8 Fusion bottles. Even better.

Then, when I got to the checkout, every 2 bottles triggered a $1.00 Catalina good towards my next purchase. Score!!! That makes the juice $0.50 each + FREE tea.

Deal Break Down:
+ 2 V8 Fusion Juice, $5.00
+ 1 V8 Fusion Tea, $2.50
- 2 V8 Fusion Juice Qs (6/26 SS), $3.00
- 1 V8 Fusion Tea, FREE WYB 2 Fusion (6/26 SS), $2.50
Earn $1.00 Catalina
Final Total: $1.00 for 2 bottles of juice + 1 bottle of tea!!

  1. I have no idea how long this Catalina is running for. Everything I can find online says this promotion ended in 6/25. Apparently it didn't or they started a new promotion.
  2. Because I had no idea about the Catalina deal, I purchased all of mine in the same transaction (15 bottles total) and I received seven $1.00 Catalinas.
  3. I was shopping at the Food Lion in Old Hickory.
Happy Shopping!



Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Dealing with Expired Coupon INSERTS

For all my couponers who save inserts, I have a surprise for you today!!! I came across this website that lets you know when it's safe to toss those old expired inserts. You do need to register for the site but it is FREE.

Once you have registered, you simply select your state and view the list of inserts that have 100% expired coupons. Grab those inserts and toss!

This is a huge timesaver for couponers who follow the insert only method. Not to mention a space saver too. I was so excited to find it!!

Great site. Check it out for yourself!


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

4x6 prints for $0.01 at Snapfish!

Penny Print Sale! 99 prints for 99 Cents. Exp 7/11

Snapfish is running an amazing promotion right now in honor of Independence Day. You can get 99 prints for just $0.99! That makes them a penny each.

I'm way behind on ordering. I had to go back to my Christmas albums to get caught up. Eek!

99 photos for under $1.00 is a great price!! Go here to order yours and use code JULYPENNY99


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

FREE Father's Day Cards


I've got 2 great deals for ya on Father's Day cards. They're so great, they are FREE!
  • Card Store - Get a FREE Father's Day card using code SENDDAD. Send it to your recipient for FREE too!
  • Tiny Prints - Get 2 FREE Father's Day card using code FDGIFT and FREEFD. Ship it to yourself for FREE or to your recipient for $0.44.
I went ahead and had mine shipped directly to their recipient because you could pick the mailing date. One less thing to worry about, right?! They were quick and easy to make and I personalized them with my own photo(s).

Remember, Father's Day is June 19th.

If you are looking for a cool gift to put inside your card, check out this deal.


Best Father's Day Present. Ever.

I saw this today and was so excited. This is a gift certificate for an airplane ride where you are the pilot - a real, in-flight pilot! Granted, the instructor is with you but STILL. You know your Dad or Hubby would go crazy for this!! I know mine will. Best of all, it's half price today on Groupon and there are aviation locations across the country. The certificate doesn't expire until 2012 so, if you have already gotten your Father's Day gift, think ahead to their birthday or Christmas.
  1. If you are new to Groupon, sign up here, then complete the following steps to locate the deal.
  2. Current Groupon members should go here.
  3. Select the drop down arrow and choose Birmingham, AL then look for "Discovery Flight and Ground Lesson" on the right side.
  4. Purchase.
Check out this cool video that shows an example of what happens in flight.


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Monkey Joes & Pump It Up Deals

It's the 1st official day of summer round these here parts and kid's entertainment deals are popping up left and right. Today, at Living Social, you can score deals from Monkey Joes and Pump It Up.

MONKEY JOES - Get yours here.
  • Choose from 2 locations (Brentwood, Rivergate)
  • $5 gets you 1 admission + a popsicle.
  • You can buy up to 5.
  • Expires 10/03/11.
PUMP IT UP - Get yours here.
  • Choose from 2 locations (Brentwood, Mt. Juliet)
  • $14 gets you 4 admissions. May be used on mulitple visits.
  • Limit 1 per person.
  • Expires 10/09/11
If you are new to Living Social, you will get a $5 credit when you sign up here. The best thing I like about LS is that if 3 friends also purchase the same deal, you get yours FREE!



Wednesday, June 1, 2011

*HOT* Old Navy Groupon

Groupon released a new deal late this afternoon but it's not too late to snag it. But you better hurry as I doubt this will still be around tomorrow.

You can get a $20 gift certificate for only $10. You have until 7/31 to use it (in-store only). I'm grabbing this and hoping to maybe use it for uniforms when they go on sale (Groupon is valid on sale merchandise).
  • If you are new to Groupon, you will need to sign up here. Plus, new members get a $5 credit.
  • Current members can go here to score this deal.
  • Limit 1 per person.



Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Official Publix Coupon Policy (Hermitage, TN)

I stopped in today for my weekly Publix trip and found that they now have official written copies of their coupon policy available to customers. I picked mine up at the customer service desk. The official policy is written on the front and not much has changed from the way they have been doing things.
  • They accept Publix coupons, manufacturer coupons, Internet coupons, and competitor coupons.
  • They accept competitor pharmacy RX coupons.
  • They do not accept % off coupons.
  • Coupons much match the items you are purchasing.
  • They reserve the right to limit quantities.
  • For BOGO offers, each item is a separate sale (i.e. will ring up 50% off).
  • You can use 1 MFG coupon + 1 Publix coupon (or competitor) per item.
  • For $ off entire order coupons, you may use 1 Publix & 1 competitor coupon per transaction if your total meets the requirements.
See? Nothing new there. On the back of the policy it lists the specific competitors for this location at Oakwood Commons in Hermitage, TN. I was pleased to see Target on the official list but I was sad that GFS was not listed.
Overall, I'm just happy that we have it officially in writing and it will be standard across the board even though the competitors may vary from store to store.



Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Vacation for a Fraction of the Cost

We are just 3 short weeks away from a little trip I like to call "School's Out For Summer." We will be spending a weekend in Chattanooga and I'm already scoring deals left and right.

Here's how you can have a fun vacation on the cheap too.
  • Plan. My husband has a very laid back approach to vacationing but, in the back of his mind, he has a list of things he would like to do. I'm the exact opposite. I would be perfectly fine with a scheduled itinerary for every day of the trip. However, in order to save some money we have to meet in the middle because, typically, deals don't just fall in your lap after you show up. You gotta find them before you go.
  • Hotel. Reservations are necessary to ensure you have lodging. I used Hotels.com to score a great price on a hotel that also serves complimentary breakfast. Be sure to look for those extra perks when you choose your accommodations. Also, Hotels.com has a reward program that earns you 1 FREE night for every 5 nights you stay (does not have to be consecutive).
  • Dining. Hotel will have breakfast taken care of but we know that we will need at least 5 meals (2 dinners + 3 lunches) while we are at our destination. I've been following daily deal sites like Groupon & Living Social (new subscribers get $5) in my destination city, as well as Restaurant.com to find gift certificates for half price or less.
  • Attractions. For this trip, we decided on 2 big things (1 each day) that we definitely wanted to see or do. I've been scouring Ebay & Craigslist for deals on those attraction tickets. So far, I've been able to save at least 50%, which is huge because these attractions are pretty pricey.
  • Snacks. We are all big snackers. To save us from having to purchase these on the road, I will be packing a small cooler with food and drinks. I also plan to prepare small baggies of snacks to take with us while we are out and about each day.
  • Gas. There isn't a whole lot you can do here and it always seems that gas prices rise in the summer. :( I like to take advantage of the Publix gas card coupons that will save you $10 off a $50 gift card to BP or Shell. They run these promotions about once every 4-6 weeks. I also use the Gas Buddy app on my phone to locate the cheapest gas in whatever area we are traveling. Sometimes it's worth it to go just one more exit.
  • Cash Back. If I'm doing any sort of online purchase, I always go through Ebates. All of the retail links above can be shopped through Ebates where you earn a percentage back on your purchase. For example, right now, they are offering 15% cash back at Restaurant.com when you shop through their site.
A little planning really does go a long way as far as saving money on vacation. At this point, we know what attractions we are going to see and where we are going to eat but I'm leaving the WHEN up to hubby. See, I can compromise. :)

Do you feel like any of the above tips will help you save money on your summer vacation?


Monday, May 9, 2011

Work From Home Opportunity & FREE laptop!

I get asked about my at-home job a lot. I'm a medical transcriptionist and it has provided the income and flexibility needed for me to stay home with our daughter.

You can read more about my journey with medical transcription here and here.

I just found out that the school I attended is offering a huge discount this month ($300 credit) or a FREE laptop! That is an amazing offer. However, you must enroll by May 31st!

If you are interested in medical transcription or billing & coding, visit my alumi page to request information or call to enroll. Be sure to mention my ID (ref13748) to receive this tuition special or get your FREE laptop with enrollment.

Also, if you are a military spouse you may use MyCAA funding towards any of the Career Step programs, which can cover up to 100% of the tuition costs.



Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Publix Coming to Donelson?

There have been a lot of rumors going around in regards to Publix coming to Donelson. In fact, these rumors pretty much started a year ago when Food Lion closed and left a big vacant space on Lebanon Road. I get asked every few weeks if I know anything about it.

Here's what I do know.

I prefer to get my information directly from the company so I contacted the Pubix real estate department last year and again recently. My emails were returned via phone call both times by Nancy who was very polite and left me very informative messages since I missed her calls.

June 2010 (from memory): We are aware of your area but we have no plans to come to that area now or in the foreseeable future. We prefer to build our own stand-alone buildings and at this time have no intentions of taking over the space to which you are referring.

April 2011 (verbatim): Hi Staci, this is Nancy calling from Publix Supermarkets here in Lakeland, Florida. I received your email in regards to the Donelson area. We do not have any final plans right now, possibly in the future, but I think it will happen but there is nothing finalized at this point. We are a little bit further than the last time I called. We will just have to wait and see if we can get any plans finalized. Hopefully in the future we can hope to serve you in the future in the area. Just wanted to give you a call back. Thank You. Bye bye.

What does this mean?

Honestly I do think we will see a Publix in Donelson but I think it's going to take some time. My understanding is that Harbor Freight and Dick's Flowers are both moving, which would vacate that entire wing of the shopping center. If Publix does come to the area, it remains to be seen whether or not they will renovate the available space or knock it down and start over. Me and the hubs actually have a friendly wager placed on this small detail. He says bulldozers are coming. :)

At this point, nothing is official. If you have received other information, feel free to comment on this post. However, I can neither confirm or deny the validity of any rumors going around. What I know is posted above.

Trust me, I want a Publix in Donelson about as bad as anybody else. Maybe even more. As Nancy said, we're just gonna have to wait this one out and see.

*Fingers Crossed*

Updated 05/06/11: Today I got a tip to check the Metro Planning Council Website. They are showing this project with final approval to overtake the current space with some sign, parking lot, and sidewalk modifications. You can view the layout map here. Details can be found in this document. This is good news. Good news indeed!


Monday, April 11, 2011

Publix vs. Kroger on Gas Deals

Since I called it quits with Kroger, several people have asked me how I'm doing it. A common question is... but what about the gas discount?

(For those of you who are new here, I have quit shopping at Kroger altogether because of their new coupon policy changes that are taking affect nationwide but appear to be wishy-washy at best. Either way, my store has never been coupon friendly and it wasn't worth the hassle.)

I've thought about it quite a bit and the $0.10 discount is probably the only marketing promotion that is really working for Kroger at the moment. But, I don't miss my $0.10 per gallon discount at all and here's why. It's really not as much as you think it is.

For example, lets say you have a 15 gallon tank.

Therefore, at Kroger, $0.10 times 15 gallons is only $1.50 saved. See, not NEARLY as much as you though it was, is it? Plus, you have to spend $100 in the store to get that discount.

Now, let's take a look at a Publix gas promotion scenario.

It's not uncommon to see a coupon in the weekly ad for $10 off a $50 gas card with a $25 purchase.

Kroger: Spend $100, save $1.50
Publix: Spend $25, save $10.00

When you put it side by side like that, Kroger just doesn't compare. Not even close.

Publix typically offers this gas card promotion once every 4-6 weeks so, no, I don't miss my measly $0.10 per gallon discount at Kroger. :)


Thursday, March 31, 2011

1st Quarter Savings & Updates

Hello frugal friends,

I'm O so very happy to be back on the couponing wagon. Today, I finally had a chance to sit down and tally up all of my receipts from the last 6 weeks when I was um, NOT on the wagon. I was really dreading adding up the numbers. It wasn't nearly as bad as I thought but it's not exactly where I would like it to be either. My current stats look like this.

Weeks: 13
Total Spent: $756
Total Saved: $1270
Percentage: 63%
Weekly Average: $58.18

For starters, my percentage is not as high as I am accustomed to but it's still well over the 50% mark. My goal is $50 a week and I'm clearly over that. Right now, I'm at a deficit of about $100 altogether, which shouldn't be too hard to recoup considering that I've still got 39 weeks to go before the year ends. :)

Here's what I will be working towards for the 2nd quarter of the year.
  • My stockpile did take a big hit when I was skipping trips to the store. I need to focus on getting my overstock built back up. Specifically, we need meat and paper products.
  • I finally kicked Kroger to the curb and it feels good but I'm still adjusting. Kroger is the closest store to me at home and hubby at work so its kinda tough if we happen to need something ASAP. Publix is about a 25-30 minute drive for me but it's totally worth it for the customer service alone and the BOGO deals.
  • I'm going to buckle down with meal planning. This will help us to avoid last-minute needs, which almost always result in paying full price.
  • I am going to make a weekly trip to Publix, preferably on Wednesdays so I can take advantage of the Penny Item. I'm hoping to get into a really good groove that will carry me through the rest of the year.
  • Finally, I'm going to work hard to stick to my budget each week (or even under) to get my weekly totals down into the $55 range by mid year.
How have you done so far this year? What are your goals for the 2nd quarter?



Wednesday, March 30, 2011

SUPER Easy Way to Peel Potatoes

A friend of mine recently emailed me this video, which shows a super easy technique to peel a potato without having to use one of those pesky potato peelers. I was skeptical at first even after watching the video. Today, I'm making a recipe which required me to peel and boil 8 potatoes. I figured if I were going to have to boil them anyway, I might as well try this new technique.

I'm pleased to report that it worked great! It was just as easy as it shows and because they potatoes were cooled first, I didn't get a steam burn on my hands. Yay!!!

Check it out for yourself. I'll admit that I think the video is a little cheesy but the technique she demonstrates is awesome!



Friday, March 25, 2011

Frugal 101: Sales Cycles

This is the next installment in the Frugal 101 series. We all know that food goes on sale but did you know that it's possible to predict when an item will be on sale? Almost all items will have a sales rotation, which averages anywhere from 8-10 weeks. This is the time to stock up on those items. Other items like produce see their lowest prices during their peak harvest times throughout the year. Knowing what fruits & veggies will be on sale can help you with meal planning. Check out the resources below, which will help you in predicting seasonal sales cycles.



Monday, March 7, 2011

Have a Great Vacation on the Cheap

Are you taking a family vacation this summer? Are you looking for ways to save? Here are my top 10 tips for finding deals and saving on a great family vacation.

  1. Airfare - Personally, if Southwest doesn't fly there we just don't go. They are my favorite airline by far. DING! is an application that you download which will notify you of deep discounts on Southwest airfare.
  2. Frequent Flyer Card - No matter what airline you fly, you should definitely make sure you are registered for their frequent flyer program. Eventually all those flights can add up for a FREE one. This is also a great way to earn other rewards (drink tickets, discounts, ect.) depending on the carrier.
  3. Hotels - My favorite site for getting the best deal on accommodations is Hotels.com. They also have a reward program that earns you a FREE night once you stay 5 nights anywhere.
  4. Entertainment - A great way to save on activities and entertainment is by watching the Groupon deals for the city you plan on traveling to. You can save at least 50% or more by purchasing these in advance.
  5. Food - For restaurant deals you can check Restaurant.com and save 50%-90% on food gift certificates.
  6. Use your current memberships - If you have a zoo or discovery center membership, find out if they are part of a national program. Often times, you will receive FREE admission to the same establishment in another city or at least a discount.
  7. Get paid to vacation - When booking any sort of flights, car rentals, or accommodations I always shop through Ebates first. For example, when booking at Hotels.com you can also earn 4% back!
  8. Choose your dates - The best rates are generally during the off season and during the week. If possible, plan your vacation during these times.
  9. Look for blogs - Search for specific blogs or websites that specialize in your travel destination. When I was planning our Disney vacation one of my favorite sources of valuable information was Mouse Savers.
  10. Check with friends - If you know of someone who has been to your destination before ask if you can pick their brain for details. They may be able to offer valuable advice on things to avoid, which may not be worth the cost. They also may be able to suggest activities that were totally worth it!

Do you have any tips for finding vacation deals? Share them in the comments below or let me know where you will be vacationing this summer.

I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Alamo blogging program, for a gift card worth $25. For more information on how you can participate, click here.



Thursday, March 3, 2011

RECIPE: Southwest Egg Rolls

NOTE: Use the "Print Friendly" button at the bottom of this post. It will allow you to print just the recipe and save your ink.

This is probably one of my favorites and I'm making it tonight. The original recipe came from Taste of Home Magazine. The dipping sauce is nothing short of awesome and I usually serve this with a side of rice. I've been making this recipe for 2 years but we just recently discovered that my hubby is the best egg roll wrapper ever! Mine always look horrible (still taste delicious) but his get rolled up perfectly. Therefore, he is now the "official" egg roll wrapper at our house.

You've heard me talk before about meal planning. Here's how I saved $ on the ingredients for this recipe. I picked up canned corn and beans last week at Publix with the Italian Days Sale. I also picked up some Sargento shredded cheese on the cheap with my prints from Coupons.com. Chicken & avocados were on sale at Kroger. A lime & cilantro is pretty cheap and I have never been able to find the egg roll wrappers on sale so I picked those up yesterday. All the remaining ingredients came from items already on hand in my pantry or fridge. :)


Egg rolls:
  • 2-1/2 cups chicken
  • 1-1/2 cups Mexican blend shredded cheese
  • 2/3 cup whole kernel corn, drained
  • 2/3 cup black beans, drained
  • 5 green onions, chopped
  • 1 t. ground cumin
  • 1/4 t. cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 t. grated lime peel
  • 1 pkg. egg roll wrappers
  • vegetable oil

Dip Ingredients:
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 cup ranch salad dressing
  • 1 T. fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 T. lime juice

Cook chicken and then shred or chunk into small pieces. In a large bowl, combine chicken, cheese, corn, beans, onions, cumin, pepper, 1/4 cup cilantro and lime peel. Place 1/4 cup of this mixture into the center of a wrapper and roll up. Use pastry brush dipped in water to seal. Prepare all egg rolls. Then, heat oil in a deep fryer to 375 degrees. Fry 2-3 egg rolls at a time for 2 minutes on each side. When golden brown, remove and allow to drain on a paper towel. To prepare dip, peel and mash the avocado. Mix with ranch, 1 Tablespoon of cilantro and lime juice. Delicious!



Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Back on the Wagon

Hello friends.

Sorry that I've been MIA for a few weeks. I had a HUGE project at work that we needed to get finished and it was taking up all of my time. We wrapped up the project last week and things are starting to settle back down around here.

During the past few weeks I will totally admit that I fell off the coupon wagon. There was hardly time for laundry, much less coupons. I still dabbled in coupons here and there but I wasn't being as consistent as I usually am. My trips to the grocery store were haphazard and poorly planned. One Saturday I literally stood in Publix and wanted to cry. I felt like a newbie all over again. My list (at least I had a list) was a mess. I didn't have all the coupons I needed because I forgot to print them or pull them and I was wondering around aimlessly in the aisles trying to get the things we needed.

However, as awful as that sounds, I did do somethings right during my little hiatus.
  1. I used my stockpile. I have lots of staples in my pantry, garage and extra freezer. I used that for about a solid 2 weeks before I ever even noticed that I need to make a grocery run.
  2. I planned our meals. Granted, there were a few nights where we grabbed pizza because I was too exhausted to think about cooking or cleaning up the kitchen. For the most part, I still sat down each week and planned out our meals mostly using my stockpile mentioned above.
  3. I shopped the deals. Even without coupons I was still saving 40%-50% simply by shopping the sales and BOGO items. Sometimes I would just give hubby a list of items to grab on his way home. Usually these items were fruits/veggies/meats that were on sale. These items typically don't have coupons so it made it easy for him and saved me a trip so I could keep on working.
Now that things have settled down I'm ready to buckle down and get back at it. I just want you to know that it's okay if you feel discouraged sometimes. It's okay if you occasionally fall off the wagon. Coupons save a lot of money but it also takes time. The trick is just remembering the basics and taking the first step to get back on track.

If you need a refresher course, please check out my Frugal 101 page with lots of tips and tricks. Also, be sure to "LIKE" Coupon Queen Diaries on Facebook. Even when I'm MIA from the blog, you can always find me (and my readers) posting tidbits and deals over there!



Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Binder Kits on Sale!

*UPDATE: This offer has been extended through 1/31.*

If you have been looking for a better way to organize your coupons then it's time you stepped up to the binder.

This week only, The Q Hunter is running a great special to help you get started. They offer three different packages of coupon sleeves, divider tabs, and labels. Plus, you will earn a gift certificate with any binder kit purchase.
  • Lite - $6.00 + earn a $3 gift certificate
  • Standard - $11.50 + earn a $5 gift certificate
  • Premium - $17.50 + earn a $8 gift certificate
I organize my coupons alphabetically so the Premium would be my choice since it comes with the most tabs and sleeves. Here's a look at my coupon binder and my Coupon Clutch cover. The Lite package might be good for those of us who have a binder but need some extra sleeves.

This sale ends on Saturday but you have until 12/31 to use your gift certificate. Order yours here.



$20 Amazon Gift Card for $10 - TODAY ONLY!

I shop Amazon A LOT so I was thrilled to see that today's Living Social deal is for a discount gift card. It's actually half price. Today only, you can get a $20 Amazon Gift card for just $10! The card has no expiration date.
  • If you are new to Living Social, sign up here. My referrals get $5 towards a future purchase.
  • Then, click here to get today's deal (all cities).
The thing I love about Living Social is that you can buy the deal and, if 3 friend's also buy the same deal (using your link), you get it for FREE!

Be sure to use my link to purchase yours today!


Sunday, January 9, 2011

Manage Your Money for FREE

I love the fresh start of a new year. This year I wanted to try to simplify my process of tracking and handling our finances. In the past I have used my own spreadsheets, which allow me to track down even the tiniest detail, but it was time-consuming to transfer every transaction from our checking account.

At the end of 2010, I came across Mint.com. It's an online program and it's FREE! I researched and learned that it comes with some amazing reviews. Time, PC Mag, and Money Magazine give it extremely high marks for security, functionality, and ease of use!

I decided to try it out and I LOVE it! Mint.com automatically transfers the transactions from my checking and savings accounts. You can also set it up to track your credit cards and other debt too. I can set up my own categories (or use theirs) and I can create my own budget (or let it suggest one based on your spending). There are also features that help you set goals (vacation, college savings, ect) and track your progress.

My favorite feature is splitting transactions. Let's say I get groceries but also pick up a gift card in the same transaction. With Mint.com, I can split that transaction so the appropriate amount gets allocated to the right category.

I also love that my account is managed online so I can access it from any computer at home or while I'm traveling. Mint.com also has an iPhone and Android app for access on the go. I've tried the Android app and it works perfectly!

So much easier. And did I mention that it was FREE? Check it out for yourself. Let me know if you like it as much as I do.


Saturday, January 8, 2011

Welcome Q Hunter Shoppers

I am so excited to be the affiliate of the week for The Q Hunter! Cindy is great, isn't she?

The beginning of a new year always has tons of great coupons and this week is no exception. Just in case you are wondering, here are my favorite for this week.

Loreal Preference, $3.00
Perdue Breast Strips, $0.75
Pure Protein Bars, BOGO
Soft Scrub, $0.50
Uncle Ben's Rice, $.100

GE Bulbs, $1.00
Jell-0, $1.00
Johnson's Baby Products, $1.00
Listerine Pocket Packs, $0.50
Listerine Mouthwash, $1.00
Motrin, $1.00
Neosporin or Band-Aid, $0.50
Purell, $1.00

Barilla Plus, $1.00 WYB 2
BIC Shaver, $2.00
BIC Shaver, BOGO
Post Cereal, $1.00 WYB 2

Hop on over to order yours now. Remember, 1st time customers can save 20% with code 20offFirst.

If you are new to Coupon Queen Diaries or new to couponing in general, please take a moment to check out my Frugal 101 series. I think it will help get your 2011 savings off to a great start!


Friday, January 7, 2011

Enjoy The City Savings Book (Nashville) $20

My daughter's school is selling Enjoy The City (Nashville) books as a fundraising opportunity. I wasn't familiar with this book but it has some AWESOME deals. No kidding! For example, lets start with the FREE items. These are just plain ole FREE with no other purchase required. Nice!

FREE Oil Change from Firestore
FREE Medium Pizza from Papa Johns
FREE Small Deep Dish Pizza from Jet's Pizza
FREE Ice Cream Cone from Krispy Kreme

The oil change alone will pay for the book. Don't believe me? Look:
The book is also full of BOGO dinners and entertainment deals. My favorite page in the whole book is probably the one with kids entertainment deals from Peek-A-Boo Playtown and Pump It Up.

Listen up Publix shoppers. If your store accepts GFS as a competitor then you need this book. There are SIX $5 off $50 purchase coupons ($30 value).

You can also see a complete preview of the book.

****If any of you locals would like a book, please email me at couponqueendiaries@gmail.com so I can send you my mailing address. Checks should be made payable to Stanford Montessori PTO and books will be mailed to you around Feburary 4th.****

Plus, for every 10 books that sell, I will give 1 away on Coupon Queen Diaries starting on January 21st (when orders are due).

Thanks for helping to support the little school that we love. Plus, it's a heck-of-a-deal for you too


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Earn Swagbucks when you buy Groupons or Living Social Deals

Guess what! You can now earn Swagbucks when you buy Groupons. It's a double win!

Here's how. First things first:

If you are new to Groupon, you will need to sign up.
If you are new to Living Social, you will need to sign up.
If you are new to Swagbucks, you will need to sign up. (Learn more here)

Now, when you are looking at the Swagbucks homepage toolbar (at the top), go to Earn>Daily Deals. Scroll down and click the tab for Local Deals. Click on any deal you want to buy and follow the steps to complete your purchase.

I am a BIG fan of Groupon and Living Social and Swagbucks. I was thrilled when I learned that I could work both programs for more savings!



Monday, January 3, 2011

Get Organized from the Start

Get your 2011 couponing game off to a great start by getting organized.

Check out these binder kits from The Q Hunter. There are several different choices to choose from and they are on sale 20% off. Plus, use code 20%offNewYear for additional savings!

If you are like me, I wanted to make my binder look cute, so I covered it with one of these amazing covers from The Coupon Clutch. It is beautifully made and makes carrying a binder so much easier! Use code TAKE 5 to get $5 off a $25 purchase.

Now is the time to get serious about couponing. You can stretch your dollars further in 2011!